The special theory of relativity describes the motion and dynamics of objects moving at significant fractions of the speed of light.

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Spacetime and uncertainty principle

I only have limited knowledge of relativity and quantumphysics but as far as I know, the uncertainty principle relates the uncertainty of space and momentum of a particle. Einstein however, explained ...
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23 views

Sign choice for sigma-matrices

I'm trying to figure out the consequences of the sign choice $$ \sigma^\mu = (\mathbf{1},\vec\sigma)\qquad\text{vs.}\qquad \sigma^\mu = (-\mathbf{1},\vec\sigma) \,. $$ This choice does not affect the ...
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1answer
267 views

Lorentz invariance, energy-momentum conservation & the locality of interactions

I have been reading these notes ("Minkowski Spacetime: A Hundred Years Later", by Vesselin Petkov) 1, in which the author states (in the middle of the text on page 137) that "The only Lorentz ...
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5answers
628 views

Is special relativity axiomatic?

Can special relativity be somewhat described by the following statement? If the speed of light is a universal constant, and if light can be placed in separate frames of motion, then time must be ...
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2answers
234 views

What axiomatizations exist for special relativity?

Einstein 1905 gives the following axiomatization of special relativity (Perrett and Jeffery's translation): The laws by which the states of physical systems undergo change are not affected, whether ...
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0answers
46 views

What is the irreducible set of fundamental principles of Special Relativity? [duplicate]

This is something that I have been pondering for some time. The fundamental principles of special relativity are usually presented as forming a twofold: There is no absolute reference frame of ...
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1answer
49 views

Maximum Angular Momentum for an orbit in GR

[The reference for this question is the book Gravitation by Misner,Thorne, & Wheeler.] The trajectories of massive particles around a spherically symmetric body is governed by the effective ...
3
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3answers
772 views

Why does weak equivalence principle say gravity is equivalent to acceleration?

I am told that the weak equivalent principle, that $m_i=m_g$ (inertial and gravitational masses are equivalent) is equivalent to the statement that in a small system you can't tell whether you are in ...
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2answers
204 views

Relativity gedanken experiment

Lets consider the following thought experiment: A spaceship is in circular orbit around Earth traveling at 99% of $c$ (the orbital distance is chosen in such a way that inside the ship there are no ...
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1answer
45 views

Why speed of light is constant with respect to any inertial frame of reference? [duplicate]

Its getting too difficult to think.if we travel at the speed of light then will light will cross us at same speed or travel with us adjacent (special theory of relativity)
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2answers
528 views

Why do single particle states furnish a rep. of the inhomogeneous Lorentz group?

Following up on this question: Weinberg says In general, it may be possible by using suitable linear combinations of the $\psi_{p,\sigma}$ to choose the $\sigma$ labels in such a way that $C_{\...
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2answers
137 views

(Hyper)Surface of Simultaneity

How can I determine the surfaces of simultaneity if I know the metric? In particular, what are the surfaces of simultaneity for rotating disk with Langevin metric: $$ ds^2=-(1-\omega^2r^2)dt^2+2r^2\...
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2answers
2k views

Why does time dilation cause you to age slower? And is time considered relative to the observer?

I understand that the higher your velocity the slower light will move. But how does time itself slow down while you are moving faster?
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0answers
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Do electronic energy levels of an atom effectively shift for scattering processes if the atom is moving in the lab frame?

When an electron of low energy scatters off an atom it interacts with one of the electrons in its shell and can transfer energy to it. The energy transfers would be discrete, since the shell electron ...
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2answers
2k views
0
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4answers
126 views

If a photon has no mass why doesn't it have infinite speed? [duplicate]

Please help a naïve layperson understand -- if a photon has no mass, why is its velocity limited at all? Shouldn't a particle with no mass be able to travel at an infinite speed?
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1answer
66 views

Lorentz Transformations in Minkowski space

If $\Lambda$ represents the Lorentz transformation matrix, then the transformation of contravariant components $x^\mu$ is given by $$x'^\mu=\Lambda^{\mu}{}_{\nu} x^\nu$$ and that of the covariant ...
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1answer
201 views

Hidden momentum

I'm trying to learn about hidden momentum. After reading what I could find with a google search, I understand that it is equal to the momentum carried by radiation, calculated with the Poynting vector....
0
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1answer
64 views

Deriving invariance of interval

I'm reading a book called A First Course In General Relativity, and when I got to the invariance of the interval, the book didn't derive it. Also, when the book derived time dilation and Lorentz ...
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2answers
791 views

Special relativity paradox and gravitation/acceleration equivalence

One of the features of the black hole complementarity is the following : According to an external observer, the infinite time dilation at the horizon itself makes it appear as if it takes an ...
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0answers
22 views

Is mass relative? [duplicate]

This question has to do with the relativistic mass of an object. I have been reading that as energy increases, so does mass to a much lesser extent, and that this applies to kinetic energy as well. ...
3
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1answer
83 views

Proof of two Lorentz-algebra identities

I am currently working through the QFT introduction text by Peskin and Schroeder and try to fill in two identities that I wasn't able to prove (it should be fairly simple, but my experience with this ...
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0answers
37 views

What is the irreducible decomposition of the tensor product of left and right weyl spinor representations, i.e. $(1/2,0)⊗(0,1/2)$?

What is the irreducible decomposition of the tensor product of left and right weyl spinor representations of the group $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$, i.e. $(1/2,0)⊗(0,1/2)$? I mean, the tensor product of two ...
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3answers
90 views

Length contraction in special relativity: can space be at rest in any frame?

Suppose a rod is moving at speed $v$ relative to me along its length. $L_0 = {}$length of the rod in the frame in which the rod is at rest $L = {}$length of the rod in my frame Then $$L = L_0 \sqrt{1-...
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0answers
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What is the geometric explanation for why the interior angles of a triangle sum to 180 degrees in both Euclidean space and Minkowski spacetime?

Four-dimensional Euclidean space has the same topology and affine structure as Minkowski spacetime, though the two have different metric structures. Given that the interior angles of a triangle ...
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2answers
119 views

Speed of light and relativity [duplicate]

Suppose there are two observers $A$ & $B$ both are in motion, now $A$ sees $B$ is moving with speed $'u'$. A says that another object $'d'$ is moving with speed $c+u$ w.r.t. A in the same ...
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Reflection At Speed of Light

I have looked online to no avail. There is two competing answers and I am curious to know which one is right. Someone asked me this question. If you are traveling at the speed of light can you see ...
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3answers
107 views

Why must $v$ be $< c$ in the Lorentz transformations? Do these equations not apply to light? [duplicate]

I was trying to understand how things look from the perspective of light. Looking at the Lorentz transformations, it seems that the universe would contract along the direction of movement into a plane,...
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1answer
47 views

A puzzler in induction and special relativity

Some reading I was doing jogged my memory about a puzzle in E&M that hit me back in my undergrad days, but I just let it go at the time and never found an answer. A pretty common undergrad E&...
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0answers
30 views

Can orbiting a black hole 99.99% speed of light make other object with relatively fast clock travel faster than light, relative to me?

If i orbit a black hole, 99.9% speed of light, time for me is moving slowly, relative to me, planet earth is aging fast, and i have traveled 10 years into the future(relatively) in 1 second, suppose ...
3
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0answers
82 views

Imagine I'm on a spacecraft that was accelerated to 1.0$c$ could I only move backwards? [duplicate]

Imagine I'm in a sapcecraft1 that is moving with 1.0$c$ or at least is so close to that speed that a few miles per hour would just be left to reach $c$. So when I'm traveling now in the direction ...
4
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1answer
264 views

What is problematic about the Moving magnet and conductor problem?

The problem is posed as follows: There is a conductor and a magnet in relative motion. This motion induces emf in the conductor. The value of the induced emf is independent of whether it's the ...
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3answers
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Did Einstein know about Michelson-Morley experiment?

The second postulate of special relativity deals with constancy of light in inertial reference frames. But, how did Einstein came to this conclusion? Did he knew about the Michelson-Morley experiment?
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1answer
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Hafele-Keating revisited with a gravity clock

Most modern clocks use electromagnetic phenomena to measure time. There are perhaps some older clocks that involve gravity to some degree (hour glass, pendulum), but I believe they still have a ...
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682 views

Relativity of temperature paradox

The imagined scenario: Part A: From special relativity we know that velocity is a relative physical quantity, that is, it is dependent on the frame of reference of choice. This means that kinetic ...
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1answer
248 views

Physical interpretation of distances

Suppose we have a universe with only two distinguishable particles, neglecting gravitation. These particles start off next to each-other, ostensibly "touching" each-other and at rest. If it takes ...
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2answers
42 views

Kinetic Energy Relativistic Correction

When trying to add relativistic corrections to the standard Schrödinger equation, the kinetic energy correction is given as $H'=-\frac{p^4}{8m^3c^2}$ (e.g. page 14 https://www.tcd.ie/Physics/people/...
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2answers
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Special Relativity - oscillator paradox

I am reading about the Special relativity and the original Einstein papers from 1905 and 1920 where he derives the Lorentz transformation and the effects of the time dilation and space contraction ...
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5answers
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Could velocity be taken as fundamental instead of time?

In physics time and length are taken as fundamental in the SI system and, as it seems, in the thinking of physicists. Could one instead take velocity, with c as its unit, together with length as ...
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1answer
81 views

Why cannot Paul be the observer? (Questions about Twin Paradox)

Here is the explanation to the Twin Paradox in Feynman's Lecture on Physics 16–2. we consider a famous so-called “paradox” of Peter and Paul, who are supposed to be twins, born at the same time. ...
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3answers
254 views

Spacelike to timelike four vectors

First at all, let me just say that I'm not a Physicist, I study mathematics. So, I have this question. If you have a spacelike four vector, is there any transformation that could change it to be a ...
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0answers
51 views

Fierz identity for chiral fermions [closed]

First of all I define the convention I use. The matrices $\bar{\sigma}^\mu$ I will use are $\{ Id, \sigma^i \}$ where $\sigma^i$ are the Pauli matrices and $Id$ is the 2x2 identity matrix. I will use ...
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1answer
151 views

Strange implication of the relativistic invariance of the Dirac equation

At least as normally formulated, the law of transformation of a wave function solution of the Dirac equation to another inertial frame seems to indicate that if observer 1 is certain the particle is ...
0
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1answer
38 views

By special relativity, a particle can only couple to an EM field? [closed]

By special relativity, the Lagrangian for the coupling must be $$ u_i A^i . $$ Here $u_i $ is the four-velocity, and $A^i$ is the four-potential. So, a particle can only couple to an EM field? ...
3
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1answer
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What is physical meaning of Lorentz boost?

Physical meaning of spatial part of Lorentz transform is, obviously, rotations in R-space. Does anybody have a nice physical interpretation of boosts though? I can understand to some extent off-...
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1answer
45 views

Symmetry, Space-Time interval, and Coordinate Time

I had the following question I was working from a book: Question: A physics professor runs across the hallway covering 120 ns of distance in 150 ns of time as measured in the frame of the earth....
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2answers
74 views

How does the comparison of rates depend on mutual speed?

If I'm moving with a considerable fraction of speed of light, the time and any process in my system will be going slower. If B is an outstanding person that is watching me passing by, he will see ...
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0answers
49 views

From gauge invariance to charge conservation in covariant electrodynamics

I tried to solve the equations of motion using the action for the electromagnetic field interacting with a current, like $$ L = F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} + A_{\nu}j^{\nu} $$ getting the right Maxwell's ...
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1answer
53 views

Speed of light when accelerating

I'm studying special relativity and saw the 2 postulates of Einstein. The most remarkable one for me is the universal speed of light. Einstein postulated that the speed of light in vacuum is the same ...
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43 views

Can the momentum of a system be spacelike?

For a particle, we always have $Eu=p$ where $u$ is the speed of the particle and correspondingly the momentum is always timelike. For a system of particles, if the potential energy is not considered ...